FSA has two special curated packages this year. The first, from Ahmedabad-based under-30 film festival Alpavirama was shown at a special preview session at Yala Maya Kendra at Patan Dhoka on Monday 1st October. Alpavirama has only held one festival, in 2011, but has another in the works for 2014, and the films shown in Kathmandu on Monday represented a wide and interesting sample from Ahmedabad and Pakistan-based young filmmakers.
The second package, which there is still plenty of time to see, is from Afghanistan, curated by Mumbai-based journalist Taran Khan. “Little Afghanistan” by Basir Seerat, and “Half Value Life” by Alka Sadat were screened on Thursday afternoon. “Little Afghanistan” featured a strongly masculine cast of Kabuli horse-drawn carriage drivers. “Half Value Life” was female-centred, and followed the life and work of a Herat-based woman lawyer, dealing with horrific cases of child marriage and domestic abuse.
It was great to have a Q&A session with curator Taran Khan afterwards. She was asked how about difficult it was to tread that line between representing Afghanistan as a hopeless case—the image that dominates most international coverage of the country—and ‘feel-good’ stories that might trivialise serious problems. The answer, if there can be one, is to allow Afghans to represent themselves as much as possible, to expose a diversity of life experiences.
More Afghan films curated by Taran Khan can be seen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.